The Howard County Gateway Program is a county-wide alternative educational program for students in need of intensive academic and behavioral instruction and support. The Gateway Program serves middle and high school students who need more intensive supports and interventions than are available at their comprehensive home schools.

The Gateway Program services between 100 and 150 middle and high school students, providing academic instruction and remediation, social skills instruction, counseling and therapeutic support, and a positive behavior management system designed to help students develop more appropriate school behaviors. Through the use of data, student individualized plans are developed. These plans measurable goals for academic performance, behavior change, and attendance. Students remain in the program until their goals are realized. When students meet their goals, a transition plan is developed and student are returned, in a systematic manner, to their home school. Many students remain at Gateway until graduation. This is due to the fact that this is the first time than many students have met with academic success in school.

Entrance and Exit Process

The Central Admissions Committee (CAC) acts as the single point of entry for students entering the Gateway Program. This committee reviews referral packets submitted by home schools who have recommended students for an alternative placement. Prior to requesting an alternative placement, the home school has implemented multiple interventions designed to change the behavior(s) that directly impact on academic success.

As part of the CAC application, the home school must develop an "Exit Plan" that includes specific exit goals and objectives for the student referred. The Exit Plan identifies those behaviors the student must display in order for successful performance at the home school. Students will be considered for transition from the Gateway Program when they have met the goals identified on the Exit Plan.